What is Shiplap Wood, Anyway?


You would not be alone if you’re currently thinking, “What the heck is Shipblack? Shipwhat? Shiplap?” While many of us haven’t used  the term shiplap, we are likely familiar with the subtle, quiet beauty it lends to every space it’s a part of.

Traditionally used for more rustic applications such as countryside cottages, restored antique barns and seaside captain’s homes, shiplap wood is enjoying it’s time in the spotlight thanks to a host of celebrity architects and interior designers that love to use this versatile and gorgeous building material.

Shiplap Wood | Amazing Versatility

Shiplap refers not to the species of wood, or its treatment, but to the way the boards fit together. Characterized by long horizontal (or vertical) panels formed by overlapping “rabbets” (grooved boards), shiplap creates a textured and visually interesting design element without overwhelming a space.  As a result, it looks great in any size space, virtually any application, and with all décor styles. Don’t be afraid to accent the fireplace of your mid-century modern living room with shiplap!  It will produce an amazing result.

Image Credit: Clayton & Little

While primed pine is a common type of shiplap, leaving the boards their natural color can also make for a beautiful application. As you can see in the photo above, the natural wood really warms up the room while still maintaining the light, airy feel of the space.

Timeless | Elegance

While using shiplap wood in a modern application is very fashionable, it also looks beautiful in traditional spaces as well. Shiplap is a less formal way of adding visual interest and depth to a space. It exudes a sense of true craftsmanship,  and natural, textured material that allows you to create a seamless line throughout a space. Its historic and regional contexts all  make shiplap wood very lively and engaging.  Such a simple, elegant way to enliven any room in your home.

Primed Shiplap Wallboarding

Historically thought of as a more “rustic” material, shiplap wood should not automatically be ruled out in a more formal space. And because it creates texture in such a clean and simple way, it can work just as beautifully in more contemporary setting.  Because it is handcrafted, it can add warmth to what might be a more austere modern setting. Or, conversely, because it has a very clean line, particularly when painted, it can be used to make a historical setting feel more contemporary.

For more information:

If you like the white look, check out our Primed Cottage Paneling and Shiplap Paneling
If the natural color is more your thing, take a look at our Shiplap Pine